The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has deployed investigation aid and forensic support to the Edo State Police Command to complement the ongoing probe of the death of a 100-level student of the University of Benin, Uwaila Omosuwa.
It had reported that Uwaila had gone to study in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Miracle Sanctuary Mega Parish, Edo Province 10, Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City on May 27, 2020, when she was raped and brutalised by her assailants.
The men had reportedly forced their way into the church, raped and smashed Uwaila’s head with a fire extinguisher.
It was gathered that the church security guard, who just resumed duty, found Uwaila in a pool of her own blood and called for help, while the victim was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
Uwaila did not recover from her state of unconsciousness until she died on Saturday.
Nigerians have urged the police to ensure that the assailants are brought to justice.
Some Nigerians and celebrities, on Monday, staged an indoor protest to demand a stop to rape and extrajudicial killings in the country.
The protesters took pictures and displayed placards with various inscriptions like: ‘Don’t tell me how to dress, tell them not to rape me. Enough is Enough’, ‘Stop raping women! Stop killing women! No means no’, ‘Say no to rape’, ‘Stop raping us’, ‘My body, my choice’, and ‘Don’t be a rape apologist.’
Musical artiste, Small Doctor, who also condemned rape on his Twitter page, @iam_smalldoctor, wrote, “Nothing Justifies Rape & Illegal Killings! STOP RAPING WOMEN. Use Your Voice However You. #justiceforTina #JusticeForUwa #StopRapingWomen #Justiceforall. _ iyanu MASHELE SOONEST.”
Actress, Mercy Aigbe, who also took a picture of herself with a placard with the inscription, ‘Enough is Enough. #We demand justice,’ wrote on her Instagram page, “I stand against Rape! I stand against Police Brutality! Enough is Enough! Justice must be served! #justicefortina #justiceforuwa #wedemandjustice.”
The former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who condemned the action of the assailants on his verified Twitter handle, urged the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He tweeted, “The reports of the rape and murder of a 22-year-old undergraduate of the University of Benin, Uwa Omosuwa, in a church in Benin City, are extremely shocking. Such savagery has no place in the Nigerian society.
“As a people, we have to work to create safe spaces for our girls and women – in our homes, at work and in our places of worship – free from any sorts of sexual violation and I say this not just because I’m a #girldad, but because it is the right thing to do.
“I strongly appeal to our law enforcement agencies to leave no stone uncovered in finding the perpetrators of this heinous act and bringing them to justice. I pray that the Almighty comforts the Omozuwa family and strengthens them at this very difficult time.”
Some UNIBEN students and members of the public stormed the headquarters of the state police command in Benin to demand justice for Uwaila.
The protesters, who were clad in black attire, staged a walk from the King’s Square area of Benin City to the state police command headquarters at the GRA.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Ayoola Ajala, who received the protesters, assured them that investigation had commenced and arrests had been made in connection with the murder.
The victim’s father, Johnson Omozuwa, called on security agencies to fish out his daughter’s killers.
Johnson, who spoke with journalists at his No. 3 Michael Avenue, Ohovbe Quarter, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, said Uwaila was attacked by hoodlums, adding that she was a member of the RCCG.
“I received calls from people living around the church, who saw my daughter in a pool of her own blood; photographs of the scene were taken, while a fire extinguisher cylinder, which the hoodlums used in inflicting injuries on her, was recovered,” he said.
Johnson said he took his daughter to the Enoma Hospital, Ogbeson Quarter, Ikpoba Hill, “and the management asked me to report the matter to the police, which I did at the Ikpoba-Okha Police Division.”
He added that the management of the hospital took Uwaila to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital for further treatment, but she passed away on Saturday night.
The victim’s mother said she was surprised that her daughter could suffer such a gruesome death after being raped.
She said Uwaila was a peaceful person and wondered why anyone would do such a thing to her.
The lawmaker representing the Ovia Federal Constituency, Dennis Idahosa; the Peoples Democratic Party and the General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Pastor Johnson Suleiman, condemned the killing.
The IG, in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the killers of Uwaila would be brought to justice.
The statement read, “As part of deliberate and concerted efforts by the Nigeria Police High Command to unravel the circumstances surrounding the brutal attack and unfortunate death of Miss Vera Uwaila Omosuwa in Benin, Edo State, on May 28 and 30, 2020, respectively, the Inspector-General of Police has deployed additional investigation aids and forensic support in the Edo State Police Command to complement and expedite action on the ongoing investigation into the unfortunate incident.
“The IG, while condemning the attack, commiserates with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased. He calls for calm and gives the assurance that the force will surely bring the perpetrators of the callous act to justice in the shortest possible time.”
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, described Uwaila’s rape and murder as the height of criminality.
Obaseki, who spoke on the killing during his visit to the State House in Abuja on Monday, described it as gruesome and sheer madness, adding that the killers must be tracked down.
He said, “Fortunately, my new commissioner of police resumed today (Monday). I’m going back to Benin and that will be the first assignment. We must track down the killers, because their action is gruesome. It’s sheer madness.
“Why would you go to a church and rape a young girl? It’s the height of criminality and this is one reason I have decided to contest (seek re-election) and ensure that we impose a state of order in Edo and get rid of criminal gangs, even if they are in our politics (political party).”
The state Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Maria Edeko, gave an assurance that the family of Uwaila would get justice.
She gave the assurance while addressing protesting students, who stormed the Government House, Benin City, to register their displeasure over the gruesome murder of the undergraduate.
She said the police had been mandated to fish out, arrest and prosecute the masterminds of the heinous crime.
She said the administration was resolute in ensuring that the perpetrators of the crime to face the full wrath of the law, noting that the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law had been domesticated in the state to deal with such crimes.
Edeko stated, “On behalf of the governor, I express deep pain over this incident. We are saddened over the matter, because the deceased represented the old and the young. In this age and time when so many persons do not even think of studying, Vera Uwaila went to the church to read.
“Her death is disheartening, more so that the heinous crime was committed in a sacred place of worship.”
The commissioner added that the state government’s delegation had visited the family of the deceased student to commiserate with them and extend the governor’s deepest condolences.